, there is a regular refrain echoing through the hallways -- in order to fix our deficit, we must cut medicare and medicaid benefits. well, that is wrong. that idea is according to the former c.e.o. of kaiser permanente, somebody who knows a little something about health care, and i'll quote him, so wrong it's almost criminal, it's an inept way of thinking about health care. i could not agree more. it was put this way by from herrick, who is a columnist for my hometown paper, the providence journal. i'll quote her -- "the dagger pointed at america's economic viability hasn't been the existence of government programs like medicare. it's been the relentless rise in health care costs that plagues not only medicare and medicaid but everyone who uses health care. attacking medicare and medicaid ignores the fact that our health care spending problem is systemwide and not just unique to federal programs. our colleague, senator angus king, has used the colorful metaphor that to go after medicare and medicaid when the problem is our health care system would be like attacking brazil after pearl harbor.